If you had asked me three years ago, I would have told you that becoming a mother wouldn’t – couldn’t – stop me from fulfilling every single one of my life’s ambitions.
Those who know me know that those ambitions happen to look a little more like “spend a month on a research vessel in the Antarctic ocean scuba diving with leopard seals and icebergs” rather than “contribute $200 a month to my retirement savings plan.” But I digress.
It’s true, I suppose, that becoming a mother hasn’t really stopped me from doing the things I love or dream of, although admittedly my priorities have changed in ways I could not have anticipated, or even considered, over the last two years.
The thing I do know, though, is that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, the mom-ing never leaves me.
Case in point: a while ago, I had to interview a well-known chef for a freelance article I was working on, and sample some of the dishes that I would be writing about.
I know: rough life, eh?
Well, my poor little baby girl decided that would be the day that she would fall ill enough to be sent home from daycare. I spent the morning with her snuggled on my lap, head resting under my chin and warm, panting body wrapped in a blanket, wondering how the heck I was going to pull off my afternoon mission, which simply could not be rescheduled.
With trepidation lumping in the back of my throat, I bundled her up with plenty of time to spare and drove to the interview. I couldn’t help but feel woefully unprofessional when I showed up with a pink snowsuit-clad companion who perked right up when she saw the display case full of elaborate, fondant-draped cakes.
I spent the next hour chasing her around the lobby, luring her with snippets of Elmo YouTube videos, and fending her off of the food that I was sampling, knowing that the dairy-filled treats would cause her to go into respiratory distress if she snuck one into her mouth.
I’m lucky that in my regular day job working in a family resource centre, this kind of shenanigans is practically expected. But in the male-dominated restaurant industry, it throws people off a little. Despite all this, I have the Mom Power, so I ignored the sidelong glances, ate the food while standing sideways next to the table with Ada on the opposite hip so she couldn’t reach it, spent the drive home thinking up choice ways to succulently describe what I had just eaten, and stayed up late that night to finish the article.
Whether my three-years-ago self likes it or not, I am always a mother. Even when I’m sometimes a food writer and sometimes a public health professional and sometimes a scuba instructor. I can do 800 things at once, have superhuman strength in my baby-carrying arm, and can keep my voice calm and soothing during an hour-long, snotty, thrashing, screaming tantrum, and I will never devote 100% of my attention to anything outside of mothering ever again, because I always have my baby on my mind.
And yet somehow, I am more and better and faster and stronger and smarter than I was before.